Welcome to A Week With The Best! This week we have PNW runner Maria Dalzot. Maria is a trail and mountain runner sponsored by La Sportiva, BioSkin, Native Eyewear and Trail Butter. A few of her career highlights include winning the 2011 NACAC Mountain Running Championship as well as the 2014 USATF National Trail Half Marathon. She is also a multi-time U.S. mountain team member and constantly wins races throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Thanks for joining us, Maria!
- How and when did you start running?
Running has always been my life’s passion. When I was a kid I ran circles around the yard for fun and tag was my favorite game in gym class. I started running competitively in 7th grade cross country when I was 11 years old. I remember the day leading up to my first race I was so nervous; I felt sick to my stomach and distracted from school work. “This is awful,” I remember telling my mom. “After I get this race over with, I’m never doing it again.” After the race, I was buzzing with elation, and asking when the next race was –I couldn’t wait! Fast forward 18 years, and I am still nervous, still addicted, still in love with the buzz, and still in pursuit of my best.
- What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?
My biggest obstacle as a runner is overcoming my anxiety. Through the years running has provided me relief from obsessive, scary thoughts and has calmed my monkey mind. The trails have been an escape from the stress of life and a way to refocus and prioritize. But sometimes running is the cause of my anxiety and leaves me dead in my tracks, stranded on a mountain top shaky and unable to breathe. It is a constant challenge for me to overcome such debilitating feelings to keep pursuing what I am most passionate about.
- Your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment is never giving up. Over the last 18 years of training and competing I have had too many injuries to count: stress fractures, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, strains, pulls, tears, broken bones, foot reconstruction surgery and bunion removal. Despite so many set-backs and heart breaks, I still get up every morning with determination to reach my goals.
- You’re a pro, but do you work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?
I am a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science. I have a private practice, Maria Dalzot RD, where I work with people of all ages and disciplines to help them reach their health and performance goals. http://www.mariadalzotrd.com/
- Describe a day’s general diet for you:
Food is a major priority in my life. I usually eat 4 large meals a day in lieu of snacking. I do not have any intolerances or sensitivities so I eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, fiber, dairy and seafood. I cannot live without bananas, apples, yogurt or nut butter. I must eat these things at least twice a day.
- What’s a typical training week like for you?
Mon: Strength training followed by 8-9 miles
Tue: 8-10 miles easy
Wed: 12 miles with 8-mile tempo or progression
Thu: Strength training followed by 8-10 miles
Fri: 8-9 miles easy
Sat: 20-24-mile trail run
Sun: 8-9 miles easy
Mileage: 70-80 miles a week
- What is your favorite workout?
My favorite workout is one that we used to do in college all the time at West Virginia University, the famous 90-60-30. It is a fartlek of running 90 seconds hard with 90 seconds off, but keeping the ‘off’ pace honest. After four sets, cut to 60 seconds on, 60 seconds off. After four sets of 60, run 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds off, and then finish with four times 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off. I do a lot of long, controlled tempos and so this workout takes me back to being a kid and just running hard. It’s also easier mentally, because you can do anything for 90 seconds.
- Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?
My advice to new runners is to give yourself grace. Running is not a linear progression. Embrace the lows and learn from them. With so much sharing on social media and Strava, it is hard not to compare yourself to other runners. I encourage you to look for others for inspiration, but you need a diet, a training plan, a coach and shoes that work for you, and only you can determine what is best for you.
For more stories on Maria’s running journey visit her blog at http://mariadalzot.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Instagram @mariadalzot and Twitter @mariadalzotRD.
If you are or know a pro runner and would like to be featured on our blog, please shoot me a message at email@example.com